A fully electric pilot vehicle made the 130 mile drive from BYD’s Lancaster facility to Santa Barbara MTD’s bus yard with 30% of its battery remaining. Photo: Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District

A fully electric pilot vehicle made the 130 mile drive from BYD’s Lancaster facility to Santa Barbara MTD’s bus yard with 30% of its battery remaining. Photo: Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District

Santa Barbara MTD welcomed the first of 14 new BYD battery-electric vehicles to its fleet.

This is the first new electric bus for the Santa Barbara MTD since the launch of the country's first electric transit fleet over 25 years ago.

The new 30-foot-long shuttles are equipped with more modern battery-electric technology and have a larger passenger capacity. The shuttles are the same width as the original fleet. The BYD fleet will also be equipped with GPS technology. Riders will be able to track their bus with the SBMTD BusTracker smartphone app.

A fully electric pilot vehicle made the 130-mile drive from BYD’s Lancaster facility to Santa Barbara MTD’s bus yard with 30% of its battery remaining.

MTD’s existing fleet of E-Bus electric shuttles serve the Downtown-Waterfront Shuttle on State Street and Cabrillo Boulevard, the Crosstown Shuttle route connecting Santa Barbara’s Eastside and Westside neighborhoods, and the Seaside Shuttle loop in Carpinteria.

The pilot shuttle will continue to undergo testing while drivers and mechanics will be trained on the new vehicle. The new shuttles will begin to be integrated with the old fleet over the next several months, until older vehicles are eventually retired.

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